A fond memory of Japan was our shopping for “lucky bags” on New Year’s Day. I always kept a little cash from Christmas to use on our lucky bag shopping, because it was The Best! Lucky bags are also known as “happy bags” as they make people happy, because usually they are a good bargain, sounds cliché but true. Many times, the contents in the bags can be discounted up to 50%. And just so you know, the Japanese people looooovvveee good bargains and not surprisingly so did we!
The whole shopping experience is known as “Fukubukuro” in Japan. I believe it might be my husband’s favorite Japanese holiday even though it is totally a shopping event, he is such a thrifty guy😉. Each year, stores have bags they place at the front of the store for say 1000, 4000, or 10,000 Yen (equal to about $10, $40, or $100 in USD), they are sealed so you are not able to look into them before you buy them. The whole experience is like gambling in a way, since it is a roll of the dice for what you come away with. Sometimes you get awesome items and other times you don’t. Our luck was about 80/20, 80% awesome and 20% not so much (and I will tell on myself those not so awesome items…I would regift.)
Japanese items we scored during lucky bag shopping (and we still use today) were a heater, an electric fan, pillows, socks, toys, kitchenware, lamps, clocks, winter hats, and hair accessories just to name a few, all fantastic quality.
After living there a few years, we started to get to know which stores we liked the best and which had the best lucky bag deals. I guess the employees became familiar with us coming into their stores each year, because there were a few stores who would let us look through the bag before buying it or swap items out for ones we liked better, which was fantastic!
Fukubukuro is a superb experience unique to Japan! In the above picture from 2016, I spent <$200!!!